Tasting: Handel’s Hefe

Posted: June 12, 2012 in Recipes, Tasting Notes

I got around to popping open the Handel’s Hefe early last week. It was a bit early, as it wasn’t supposed to be done conditioning until this weekend, but I couldn’t wait. Plus, I understand that hefes do not need the conditioning time, as the wheat flavor prominent in young beers is expected here.

With that, I have to admit, I was WAY off from my expectations. I thought the higher fermentation would lead to banana flavors. Upon further research, the higher temps lead to more prominence of either banana or clove, but the pitching of the yeast yields the actual flavor. Overpitching leads to clove, and under pitching leads to banana. Since I used an entire vial of the WLP 300, I ended up over pitching for lots of clove flavor in this one.

However, that’s not a bad thing. The flavor, although “clovery”, seems to fit within the style guidelines, depending on your definition of “moderately strong.” I also notice a hint of the banana on the tongue as well, so it is present. I would have preferred this one with the opposite balance of clove to banana. I’m thinking by using 1/2 the yeast, or pitching it at a higher temp would solve this problem.

I did miss the boat on the carbonation. This one pours with a decent head, but quickly fades with little lacing. Carbonation is present throughout the glass, but it is not overcarbed as required by the style. That may be due to not enough sugar, as tastybrew’s calculator does not include a hefe option (maybe I should have used Wheat Beer-Weizen instead of the Helles). I also wondered how much yeast I lost on the blowout, or if I didn’t have enough time in warm conditioning. I did keep 12 bottles back, so we can check the last one, but my guess is sugar.

No pic of this one yet. I’ll try to snap something and edit later.

Final word: would I do this one again? You bet! With the carbing changes, and maybe with 1/2 the yeast vile, and probably some FermCap to avoid the blowout, this would would be a good one to keep in the summer rotation!

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